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The History of India

Book 6 – Kings of Delhi, to the Accession of the House of Teimur, 1206–1526

Chapter 1 – Slave Kings

Kutb u din Eibak

Independence of India

From the death of Shahab u din, India became an independent kingdom; and after the disturbance occasioned by the dissolution of his empire had subsided, it ceased to have any connection with the countries beyond the Indus.

Progress of a Turki slave

The life of Kutb u din, the founder of this new monarchy, affords a specimen of the history of the Turki slaves, who rose to sovereignty throughout Asia, and who for a long time furnished a succession of rulers to India.

He was brought to Nishapur in his infancy, and

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purchased by a wealthy person, who had him instructed in Persian and Arabic. On his death, Kutb was sold to a merchant, who presented him to Shahab u din. He soon acquired his master’s favour, and was in command of a body of horse, when, in some border warfare with the Kharizmians, he was taken prisoner on an occasion in which his gallantry had been conspicuous. Being afterwards recaptured, he was received with an increase of favour; and by his subsequent good conduct stood so high in his sovereign’s estimation, that, after the defeat of the raja of Ajmir, he was left in charge of all the new conquests.

His master’s subsequent successes were greatly promoted, as has been shown, by Kutb u din’s ability in his new station; and in process of time the conduct of affairs in Hindostan was almost entirely confided to his discretion. A natural manliness of character inherent in the Turks gave to newly raised officers of that nation an estimation among the other great men which seldom falls to the lot of the creatures of princes; and Kutb u din, instead of being an object of jealousy, seems to have been generally beloved for the frankness and generosity of his disposition.

Besides the friendships formed with the great, he strengthened himself by family connections with persons circumstanced like himself. He married the daughter of Eldoz; he gave his sister in marriage to Nasir u din Kubacha; and he afterwards bestowed his daughter on Altamsh, another rising slave, who afterwards succeeded to his throne.

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Nasir u din from the first acknowledged his superiority, and held Sind of him, under the supremacy of Mahmud of Ghor; but Eldoz, with whom ambition had more force than family ties, affected to treat India as if it were still a dependency of Ghazni, set out with an army to enforce his claim, and almost immediately gained possession of Lahor. He was soon after driven out by Kutb u din, who followed up his success by the capture of Ghazni.

1205, AH 603

After being some time in possession, he was expelled in his turn by Eldoz, and spent the rest of his life in the government of his own dominions, where he left a permanent reputation as a just and virtuous ruler.

1210, AH 607

He had only been four years on the throne, but his administration had been known for the twenty years that he officiated as the representative of Shahab u din.


Aram, his son, succeeded him. He showed no capacity, and was dethroned within a twelvemonth by his brother-in-law, Altamsh.

Shams u din Altamsh

1211, AH 607

It is related of Altamsh, probably after his elevation, that he was of a noble family, but was sold, like Joseph, by his envious brothers. Sultan Shahab u din, unwilling to pay the price demanded for him, allowed Kutb u din as a favour to purchase him for 50,000 pieces of silver. He passed through different stations, and was governor of Behar at the

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time of his revolt. He was invited to the throne by a party; but a numerous body of Turki chiefs were opposed to him, and he did not gain possession without a battle.

Eldoz, in his assumed superiority, gave him investiture unasked; but being soon after driven out of Ghazni by the king of Kharizm, he made an attempt to establish himself in India.

1215, AH 612

He penetrated to Tanesar, and had even made a party in Altamsh’s court, when he was defeated, was taken prisoner, and ended his days in confinement.

1217, AH 614

Altamsh next marched against his wife’s uncle, Nasir u din Kubacha, who had asserted his independence in Sind; but, although he displayed great activity and personal gallantry, he did not succeed in establishing his sovereignty1.

At this time it seemed far from improbable that the Kharizmians would pursue their conquests into India, and Nasir u din had already been engaged with bodies of their troops which had approached the Indus.

Conquests of the Moguls under Chengiz Khan

But all these alarms were suspended by an event which changed the whole face of Asia. Chengiz Khan, originally a petty chief among the Moguls, having subdued the three nations of Tartary, and swelled his bands with their united hordes, burst on the Mahometan kingdoms with an army that never was equalled in numbers either before or since.

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This irruption of the Moguls was the greatest calamity that has fallen on mankind since the deluge. They had no religion to teach, and no seeds of improvement to sow, nor did they offer an alternative of conversion or tribute; their only object was to slaughter and destroy; and the only trace they left was in the devastation of every country which they visited. The storm first fell on the Sultan of Kharizm, who had drawn it on himself by the murder of Chengiz’s ambassadors. His armies were defeated, his cities demolished, his country laid waste, and a great part of his subjects either massacred or reduced to slavery. He himself died of a broken heart, in an inaccessible retreat on an island in the Caspian, and his son and successor, Jelal u din, was driven into the eastern extremity of his dominions.

1221, AH 618

This prince defended his country gallantly to the last. He gained a victory near Candahar, and another still further to the east; but these successes did not even retard his ruin. His last battle was on the Indus, where, after displaying the most obstinate valour, and witnessing the total destruction of his army, he swam the river with seven followers amidst a shower of arrows from his enemies, whom he left in admiration of his intrepidity2.

King of Kharizm pursued into India

In the course of the night and next day he was joined by 120 of his soldiers; and, before many days were passed, he had assembled 4000 horse.

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The Moguls threatening to cross the Indus, he fled towards Delhi, and applied to Altamsh for assistance, or at least for an asylum. Altamsh sent a courteous answer, but was too prudent to draw on himself the resentment of the Moguls; and Jelal u din, left to his own resources, formed an alliance with the Gakkars, drew together an army by means of plunder, and at length attacked Nasir u din Kubacha, and forced him to take refuge in Multan.

Returns to Persia 1228, AH 620

After this be kept no measures with any one: he ravaged the country on the Indus; invaded and conquered Sind; and would, perhaps, have maintained himself in the possession of it, if some hopes in Persia had not induced him to pass into Kirman.

Finding the Mogul armies withdrawn from Persia, he again established his power in that country, opposed them with vigour in a new invasion, and was killed at last in Mesopotamia, ten years after his passage of the Indus3.

During his abode in Sind, Ferishta relates that a Mogul army4 came in pursuit of him, laid siege to Multan, and, being repelled by Nasir u din, continued their march to Sind, which Jelal u din had quitted. They conducted themselves with their usual barbarity throughout; and finding provisions scarce in their camp before they departed, they put to death 10,000 Indian prisoners, when

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they would have been equally relieved by setting them free.

After he was delivered from this succession of enemies, Nasir u din was again invaded by Altamsh, who, this time, was more successful than before.

1225, AH 622

Nasir u din was constrained to retreat to Bakkar; and on attempting, afterwards, to continue his course to Sind, he was drowned, with all his family, in a sudden squall on the Indus, and the whole of the territory subject to him submitted to the victor.

The country to the south of Tatta seems to have maintained its independence from the time of Mohammed Casim to that under discussion. It may, perhaps, have acknowledged the superiority of some of the intermediate dynasties during the interval, but the internal government was never out of the hands of the Sumera Rajputs.

In the same year with this expedition to Sind, Altamsh marched against Bakhtiar Khilji, who looked on Behar and Bengal as his own conquest; and, though he professed obedience to Kutb u din (to whose daughter he was married), openly disclaimed all dependence on his successor. Altamsh was successful in this undertaking; he deprived Bakhtiar of Behar (the government of which he conferred on his own son), and obliged him to hold Bengal under the crown of Delhi. Bakhtiar made a subsequent attempt to retrieve his losses, was defeated by the prince who governed Behar, and lost his life in the conflict.

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1226, AH 623, to 1232, AH 630

Altamsh was now occupied for upwards of six years in reducing the part of Hindostan which had remained independent. He began by taking Rintambor, which, though so much in the line of former conquests, had been protected by its mountainous situation. He next took Mandu, a town of great extent and natural strength in Malwa Gwalior, which had revolted, was next recovered; Bilsa was likewise taken; and the occupation of the ancient capital Ujen, with the destruction of its celebrated temple, completed the conquest of Malwa.

State of Hindostan

All Hindostan, except some insulated portions, now acknowledged the government of Delhi; but the obedience of the different portions was in different degrees, from entire subjection to very imperfect dependence: and in this state, with various fluctuations, it remained till the end of the Mogul empire. In a succession of strong reigns, the subject country would greatly exceed the rest; and the princes who retained the internal government of their territories would be quite submissive and obedient in general politics: but two or three weak rulers would again throw all into confusion; new princes would start up, and the old ones would become unruly, till the next vigorous monarch had almost to begin the conquest anew.

Death of Altamsh 1236, AH 633, Shaban 20

After these victories Altamsh returned to Delhi, and died in April, 1236, as he was about to set out on a journey to Multan.

During the course of his reign he received investiture

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from the calif of Bagdad; the most authoritative recognition of a new government that could take place among Mussulmans.

His vizir was a man of great eminence, and had been long in one of the highest employments under the calif. The author of the “Jama ul Hikayat,” a very popular collection of historical anecdotes in Persian, resided at his court.

The beautiful column called the Kutb, or Cutab Minar, near Delhi, was completed in the reign of Altamsh. It is in the form of a minaret, with galleries; the shaft is fluted in a manner peculiar to itself, and ornamented with the richest effect. It is 242 feet high, although injured by an earthquake; and is still, I believe, the highest column in the world. Near it is an unfinished mosque, which for grandeur of design and elegance of execution is equal to anything in India. It is ascribed in an inscription to Shahab u din Ghori.

Rukn u din

At the death of Altamsh the contest with the Hindus was at an end; and the period which followed was occupied by a succession of plots, mutinies, and revolutions, equally destitute of present interest and permanent effects.

Rukn u din, who succeeded his father, lavished his treasures on dancing-women, buffoons, and musicians, and left the government to his mother; and her tyranny and cruelty soon drove all ranks

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into rebellion. He was deposed after a reign of seven months, and his sister Rezia was raised to the throne in his place.

Sultana Rezia

1236, AH 634, Her virtues,

“Rezia Begum,” says Ferishta, “was endowed with every princely virtue, and those who scrutinise her actions most severely will find in her no fault but that she was a woman5.” If not distinguished for literature, she read the Koran correctly; and such was her talent for business, that Altamsh, when absent on his southern campaigns, left her in charge of his government in preference to his sons. Her conduct on the throne did not disappoint the expectations entertained of her. Of two separate factions which had concurred in dethroning her brother, one was opposed to the elevation of the Sultana. The vizir of the two last kings was at the head of the latter faction, and they were strong enough to appear before Delhi, and to defeat an army that was coming to its relief. But the queen’s arts were more effectual than her arms. She succeeded so well in sowing dissensions among her enemies, that the whole confederacy dissolved, and left the individuals composing it at her mercy. Some were put to death, and others conciliated; and in a short time quiet was perfectly restored.

The internal administration of Rezia did not fall

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short of her political address. She appeared daily on her throne in the usual habit of a Sultan; gave audience to all corners, reformed the abuses which had crept in under the last government, revised the laws, decided suits of importance, and evinced all the qualities of a just and able sovereign.

And weakness

But her talents and virtues were insufficient to protect her from the effects of a single weakness. It was shown in the extraordinary marks of favour which she showered on her Master of the Horse; who, to make her partiality more degrading, was an Abyssinian slave. It does not appear that her fondness was criminal, since the greatest breach of decorum alleged against her is her allowing the Abyssinian to lift her on her horse. It was, however, imprudent in the highest degree; for, by raising her favourite to the office of Amir al Omra6, which gave him rank over all other courtiers, she at once disgusted her nobility, and furnished them with a plausible ground for exciting a clamour against her.


The first who openly rebelled was a Turki chief called Altunia. The queen immediately marched against his fort of Batinda; but her army mutinied, her favourite was killed in a tumult, and she herself, being made prisoner, was consigned to Altunia, as the safest hands in which she could be placed; while her brother Behram was raised to the vacant throne.

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Rezia, when force failed her, had again recourse to art; and she so far gained over Altunia by the influence of love or of ambition, that he agreed to marry her, and to assert her rights against his former confederates.

The queen defeated and put to death

Aided by her new consort, the queen assembled an army, and advanced to Delhi; and it was not till after two bloody battles that she was made prisoner along with her husband, and both were put to death. Her reign lasted for three years and six months.

Moizz u din Behram

1239, AH 637

Mogul irruption into the Panjab

The new king endeavoured, by treachery and assassination, to rid himself of the nobles who, for their own purposes, had raised him to the throne. Before he had attained his end, his dominions were invaded by a body of Moguls, who penetrated to Lahor; and the assemblage of troops which followed led to new plots and seditions, which ended in his imprisonment and death, after he had reigned two years and two months.

Ala u din Masaud

1241, AH 639

The reign of the next Sultan, a son of Rukn u din, was a repetition of the same scenes, increased by the cruelty and licentiousness of the king, until at the end of little more than two years, he was deposed and put to death.

Mogul irruptions

The only remarkable events of his reign were

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1244, AH 642

two irruptions of the Moguls; the first through Tibet into Bengal, the only one recorded from that quarter during the period of authentic history; and the other by a division of the army of Manku Khan into the north-western part of the kingdom.

The first of these invasions was defeated by the local officers; the second advanced no further than Uch, on the joint rivers of the Panjab to the south of Multan.

Nasir u din Mahmud

1246, AH 644

The twenty years’ reign of Nasir u din was full of disturbances foreign and domestic, though none sufficient to overturn the government.

He was the grandson of Altamsh, had been imprisoned immediately after that prince’s death, and, though he had been for some time released and entrusted with a government, he retained the retired and studious habits of his youth.

Gheias u din Bulbun vizir

He reposed with entire confidence on the conduct of his vizir, whose name was Gheias u din Bulbun. This minister was a Turki slave of Altamsh, and had been honoured by that monarch with the hand of one of his daughters, the aunt of the reigning king.

The great danger was now from the Moguls, who were in possession of all the countries west of the Indus. To guard against it, Bulbun formed the frontier provinces into one great government, at the head of which he placed his relation, Shir Khan, who, like himself, had been a slave. He

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then advised the king to proceed in person to the Panjab. While in that province he severely chastised the Gakkars for their co-operation with the Moguls in their inroads, and compelled the jagirdars7, who had long neglected their duty, to furnish their contingents with regularity.

1247, AH 646, to 1250, AH 649

He next turned his arms against different Hindu rajas, whom the weakness of the preceding reigns had tempted to revolt. In the first campaign he restored the loyal authority in the country on both sides of the Jamna, from opposite Delhi to Calinjer in Bundelcand; and in the three following years he settled the hilly country of Mewat, extending from near Delhi to the Chambal, the neighbouring territory of Rintambor, and the more remote one of Chitor. He afterwards took the strong fort of Narwar in Bundelcand, reduced Chanderi, and recovered all the revolted part of Malwa. In an interval of these expeditions he quelled a rebellion of the governor of Uch; and, during the same period, Shir Khan, governor of the Panjab, not only kept the Moguls out of his province, but invaded their territory and took possession of Ghazni.

Removal of Bulbun

During most of these operations the king accompanied the army, and was the ostensible author of all its success. He nevertheless began to feel uneasy in the secondary place which he really occupied, and was induced by the insinuations of Imad u din, an artful courtier, who had risen by

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the favour of the vizir, to remove that minister from his post, and to confer it on his secret accuser.

1253, AH 651

Discontents and intrigues

Bulbun restored

All the vizir’s immediate adherents were soon after displaced; and the misgovernment which followed created extensive discontents, and afforded a pretext to ten governors of provinces, who probably were in league with Gheias, to unite their troops, and address a remonstrance to the king, followed up by a demand, in respectful but firm terms, for the dismission of the new minister. No mention was made of the displaced vizir, but the object of the confederacy was obvious; and, as resistance would have been hopeless, the king recalled Gheias u din, who thenceforth was the real head of the government.

1255, AH 653, to 1257, AH 655

Imad u din now raised a rebellion, in which he involved a relation of the king’s; and although he was himself soon taken and put to death, yet a confederacy had been formed, including the Hindu raja of a place called Santur and the king’s governor of Sind. This rebellion was not entirely quelled till the end of the second year.

1253, AH 656

During the same time another Mogul attack on the Panjab was repelled, and an expedition was afterwards undertaken against the revolted governor of Karrah Manikpur. A more difficult task was to put down the inhabitants of Mewat. The vizir went against them, and it was not without great exertion and some danger that he vanquished them in battle, and ultimately reduced their country. Ten thousand of the insurgents are said to have

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been slain.

1259, AH 657

The fierce and turbulent mountaineers of Mewat, though their frontier was within twenty five miles of Delhi, were never entirely quieted until the establishment of the British government.

The last event of the reign was the arrival of an ambassador from Holaku Khan, grandson of Chengiz Khan, and himself a very powerful monarch. Every exertion was made to give him an honourable reception, and the splendour of the court is described as worthy of the best days of the monarchy.

1266, AH 664

No other occurrence is recorded until the death of the king in February, 1266.

Nasir u din’s private life was that of a Dervise. He defrayed all his personal expenses by copying books: his fire was of the humblest description, and was cooked by the queen, to whom he allowed no female servant; he had only one wife, and no concubines. He was an eminent patron of Persian literature. The “Tabakati Nasiri,” a general history of Persia and India, which still retains the highest celebrity, was written at his court, and takes its name from him.

An instance is told of his temper and courtesy. On showing one of the books he had transcribed to a nobleman of his court, the nobleman pointed out several mistakes, which the king immediately corrected. When the nobleman was gone, he was observed to erase the corrections and restore the old reading; and when asked his reason, he said he knew that the copy was right all the time, but

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thought it better to make the corrections than to hurt the feelings of a well-intentioned adviser.

Gheias u din Bulbun

1266, AH 664

Bulbun8 being already in possession of all the powers of king, found no difficulty in assuming the title.

Bulbun puts down the influence of the slaves

He had been brought up from infancy at the court of Altamsh, and had taken an active part in all the intrigues and revolutions of the succeeding reigns. During the life of Altamsh, he had entered into a covenant for mutual support with forty of the king’s other slaves, most of whom had attained to high stations. Having gained his own object, he desired to put an end to a system which would have endangered the succession of his family. He therefore, on various pretexts, made away with his surviving confederates (some of them his own near connections by marriage); and he henceforth made it an invariable rule to confer no office but on men of family.

His character

So ostentatiously did he exercise his new policy, that he affected a repugnance even to ordinary intercourse with people of low origin. He also made it a rule to exclude Hindus from all offices of trust. All his other acts partook of the same contracted spirit. He established laws for the preservation of game round his capital;

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and having exceeded in wine in his early life, he severely punished even the moderate use of it after he had reformed. In cases of rebellion, not satisfied with chastising the leaders, as had been usual, he extended capital punishment to the meanest of their vassals and retainers. Stories are told of his inflexible justice; but they consist in publicly whipping governors of provinces, and sometimes having them beaten to death in his presence.

This narrow-minded and selfish tyrant was raised, by circumstances, to the appearance of a liberal and enlightened monarch. The horrors of the Mogul invasion drove men of eminence from the countries to which it extended; and Bulbun’s being the only Mahometan government that was not subverted, his court was filled with illustrious exiles of that religion. He used to boast that no less than fifteen sovereign princes had been dependent on his hospitality: he gave the names of their territories to the streets which they inhabited; and his capital long preserved those memorials of Rum, Ghor, Kharizm, Bagdad, and other kingdoms.

The number of literary fugitives was naturally still more considerable; and as the king’s eldest son, Prince Mohammed, was a young man of the greatest accomplishments, his palace was the resort of all the famous authors of that age. The chief, among many names well known in Persian literature, was the poet Amir Khusru; on the possession of whose society the prince was congratulated by

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Sadi9, who sent him a copy of his works, and regretted that his extreme old age prevented his accepting an invitation to Delhi. Bulbun himself had a turn for pomp and magnificence; so that his court was surrounded by an external splendour which blinded strangers to its real character.

1266, AH 665

He was disturbed by Hindi: insurrections on the banks of the Jamna and Ganges, as well as in the mountains of Rid and Mewat. They were created by banditti for the sake of plunder: and here his exterminating system, backed by the erection of garrisons and other prudent precautions, seems to have operated effectually. In Mewat he is said to have put 100,000 persons to the sword; but he also cut down the forest over a great extent of country; and, from that time, it afforded support to the husbandman, instead of an asylum to the robber.

Revolt of Bengal

His only serious rebellion was in Bengal. The governor, Togral, having made a successful expedition against Jajnagar beyond the river Megna10, had refused to send any portion of the booty to Delhi, and soon after assumed the title of king.

1279, AH 678

He totally defeated the first army sent against him, on which the king hanged the unsuccessful

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general. Another army having been routed in spite of this severity, he at length moved in person to put down the rebellion. He acted on this occasion with the vigour and ability in which he never was deficient: he set out without waiting till the end of the periodical rains, marched straight to Sunargong11 (or Sundergong), then capital of the eastern district of Bengal, and struck such terror into the rebel, that he evacuated the open country, and withdrew, with a strong body of troops, into the forests. His retreat was discovered by one of the king’s chiefs, who came unexpectedly on the camp, and, though at the head of only forty men, took the desperate resolution of entering it in open day. His small troop advanced without attracting observation till they reached Togral’s tent, when they rushed on with loud shouts. Togral and those around him fled with precipitation, imagining the whole of the royal army was upon them: the panic spread to the troops; the whole dispersed in confusion; and Togral himself was overtaken and slain as he was endeavouring to swim his horse over a river, on his flight towards Jajnagar.


The king punished this rebellion with more than his usual severity, and was only prevented going on with his executions after he had returned to his capital, by the intercession of the Cazis, Muftis, and other learned and venerable men.

Mogul irruption

Not long after this he had the misfortune to lose

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his eldest son; a calamity to his people no less than to himself. The prince’s death was worthy of the high character he had acquired. An army of Moguls belonging to Arghun Khan, then king of Persia, had invaded the Panjab, and Prince Mohammed, who was governor of the province, hastened thither from the capital, where he had gone to meet his father. He defeated the invaders, and had recovered all the country they had overrun, when a fresh army arrived of chosen troops under a celebrated general named Teimur Khan.

Victory and death of the heir apparent

A sanguinary conflict took place, and the prince gained a complete victory; but was killed by a body of the enemy, who had kept together during the pursuit. Amir Khusru, the poet, his constant companion, was taken prisoner on the same occasion.

This loss drew tears from the meanest soldier in the army, and touched the heart even of Bulbun. That monarch had now reached his eightieth year, and was fast sinking under the affliction that had fallen on him, when he summoned his second son, Bakarra Khan, to attend him on his death-bed. His son, finding him in less immediate danger than he expected, returned, without leave, to his province of Bengal; and Bulbun was so much offended that he sent for Kei Khusru, the son of Prince Mohammed, and immediately declared him his heir.

Death of Bulbun

Soon after this act the king died. The ministers, desirous of averting a civil war, proclaimed Kei

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Kobad, the son of Bakarra Khan, and restored Khusru to his father’s government of Multan.

1286, AH 685

Both the losing claimants appeared to acquiesce in this arrangement, and Kei Kobad mounted the throne without opposition.

Kei Kobad

1286, AH 685

Intrigues and power of the vizir

The new king, who was in his eighteenth year at his accession, gave way, without restraint, to the pleasures natural to his age. He was encouraged in his vices by his vizir, Nizam u din, who entertained hopes of securing the crown for himself. As Kei Khusru stood immediately in the way of his design, he took advantage of some imprudence on his part to render him an object of jealousy to the king; and being thus secure of impunity, he procured his assassination. By similar arts he brought about the death or disgrace of all the ministers who were not his own creatures; and, as his wife’s ascendancy was as great in the harem as his was in the court, he held the king entirely cut off from all knowledge but what he thought proper to impart.

Massacre of Mogul mercenaries

Many Mogul adventurers had, at this time, taken service at Delhi: it was an object to Nizam u din to alienate these useful auxiliaries from the king; and he worked on that prince’s fears by pretending a correspondence between them and their hostile countrymen, until he induced him to invite their chiefs to a banquet, and put them treacherously to death.

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King’s interview with his father

Before his schemes were matured, he was interrupted by the approach of the king’s father, Bakarra Khan, who, hearing of the state of affairs, marched with an army to look after the interests of his family. The vizir easily prevailed on the king to move out to oppose him; but, when the armies drew near, Bakarra Khan appealed so strongly to his son’s affections that the minister could no longer prevent an interview. He endeavoured to frustrate the effects of it by imposing many humiliating ceremonies on Bakarra Khan, to all which that prince submitted; until, after repeated obeisances, he found the king remaining unmoved on his throne; when, shocked by this unnatural behaviour, he burst into tears. This sight overpowered all the king’s resolutions: he leaped from his throne, and ran to throw himself at his father’s feet; and, the father hastening to prevent him, he fell on his neck, and they remained for some minutes weeping in each other’s arms,. while the whole court was almost as much affected as themselves. When the first transport was over, Kei Kobad seated his father on the throne, and showed him every mark of love and reverence. All thoughts of war were now at an end; but, after repeated interviews, Bakarra Khan found that the vizir’s vigilance, and his power over the enfeebled mind of the king, rendered it impossible to subvert his authority by peaceful means; and, being unwilling, or unable, to resort to force, he returned to Bengal, and left his son to his fate.

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Kei Kobad plunged anew into all sorts Of debauchery; and to such excess, that, at that early age, he entirely broke his constitution and brought on an attack of palsy. Being now driven on reflection, he perceived all the dangers of his situation; and, unable to rid himself of his minister by honourable means, he had recourse to the lessons with which he had been made familiar, and succeeded, before long, in taking him off by poison.

Murder of the vizir

The removal of this predominating influence served only to let loose a number of other enemies, all eager to seize on the power which the king was unable himself to retain.

The ascendancy of the slaves about the court had been destroyed by the policy of Bulbun, and the contest was now between the principal military leaders; and, as the native Indians were not yet of sufficient importance to form a party, the only competitors were the Tartar chiefs and those of the old kingdom of Ghazni or Ghor.

The king dethroned and put to death

1288, AH 687

The Khiljis seem, from the ability of their chief, or some advantage of their own, to have been at the head of the latter class: they prevailed over the Tartars, and Jelal u din Khilji was raised to the throne, after the way had been opened for him by the assassination of Kei Kobad.12

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[Blank page, footnote moved.]


1. Ferishta, in his History of Sind, vol. iv. p. 411., makes only one expedition; in his General History, vol. i. p. 208., he makes two; but in the second there is a confusion regarding the Khiljis which throws the whole into doubt.

2. De Guignes, vol. iii. pp. 58, 59. D’Herbelot. Ferishta, vol. iv. p. 415.

3. D’Herbelot, art. “Gelaleddin.”

4. Ferishta says, under Chaghatai Khan in person, but probably a detachment.

5. Briggs’s Ferishta, vol. i. p. 217.

6. Literally “Commander of Commanders;” that is, General in Chief.

7. Holders of land on military service. See Vol. I. p. 145.

8. Often called Balin by English writers.

9. The celebrated moral poet; perhaps the best author Persia ever produced.

10. Now Tipperah (Hamilton’s Hindostan, vol. i. p. 178.). Jajnagar has been taken for Jajpur in Cattack, which never was the head place of a district. (See Mr. Stirling, Asiatic Researches, vol. xv. p. 274.)

11. It has since been swept away by the Ganges. (Buchanan, quoted by Hamilton, Hindostan, vol. i. p. 187.)

12. Ferishta calls the competitors of the Khiljis, Moguls; but it is impossible to believe in the ascendancy of that tribe, any more than in the disappearance of the Turks, at so early a period. The pretender set up by the Tartars was, moreover, the son of Kei Kobad, a natural object of choice to them for his Turki descent, but of aversion to the Moguls for his father’s massacre of their chiefs. The succession of kings of Delhi which commenced with Kutb u din, is by some considered as a continuation of the line of Ghor; but most oriental writers include those princes, along with Eldoz and one or two others, in a dynasty to which they give the name of “the slaves of the Sultans of Ghor.”

This collection transcribed by Chris Gage
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